The iCASE Baseball Academy in Stratford, Ontario recently opened its doors to the public to unveil its new and improved program for 2014-2015. On hand to celebrate the event was Canadian Baseball Hall of Famer, Jim Fanning.
Born in Chicago, Illinois in 1927, Fanning’s professional baseball career spans over 60 years. As a former catcher, broadcaster, longtime Expos’ manager, Major League Baseball executive and now Blue Jays Good Will Ambassador, he passionately engaged a circle of players and coaches with stories, time-tested coaching tips and praise for the iCASE Academy.
“This is fantastic. Everyday that you’re out here you’ve got to be thankful that you have an Academy and facility like this…You can do everything right here.”
The Academy represents a first for the Province of Ontario.
Built by the International Canadian Academy of Sports Excellence (iCASE) and the Avon Maitland District School Board, it is the first Academy to combine rigorous baseball training with a full time specialized academic education for high school students in grades 9 through 12.
The Open House signifies the start of an advanced Academic Baseball program that will now run for semester one of the school year at Stratford Northwestern Secondary School and will further blend specialized sport-centered curriculum and academic excellence with intensive baseball training.
“The change to a one semester program changes the cost structure making it a more affordable option for local, regional, provincial and students nationwide as well as international students from abroad,” states iCASE General Manager and baseball veteran Tom Valcke.
The tuition fee for the fall semester includes training five days a week, all trips and lunch suited to athletic conditioning at Stratford Northwestern’s Screaming Avocado – a featured cafe on the Food Network’s series ‘Fink.
The newly-released Fall 2014 schedule sees iCASE play in seven tournaments in five different American states and will culminate with participation in the MLB Fall Showcase giving players maximum exposure to USA college and pro scouts.